MRCS Eng 1828; MRCS Edin 1828; LSA 1825; LPS Glas 1828; FRCS 1861.
Spence, the son of surgeon William Spence(see below) was born in Bedale on 9 July 1804. He was a pupil at Manchester Grammar School from 1819 and then commenced his medical education under his father. He also studied under Dr Earl of Ripon and later at St George's Hospital, London and in Paris. For the first twelve years as a surgeon he took over his father's practice (his father having returned to Manchester) and was surgeon to the Bedale Dispensary. On the sudden death of his younger brother Joseph in 1839, who had just commenced practice in Manchester with their father, John Spence rejoined his father in Manchester where he practised for ten years. When his father retired to Dalton-in-Furness, John Spence returned to Bedale where he continued to practice as a surgeon into the 1870s.